The Romulans were a humanoid race from the planet Romulus in the Beta Quadrant. The Romulans were biological cousins of Vulcans, as they were descended from those who rejected Surak's reforms during the Time of Awakening. The Romulan Star Empire was the Romulan state and one of the major powers known in the galaxy.
Commander Spock once theorized that Sargon's people may have colonized Vulcan some six million years ago. Sargon believed that Humans and Vulcans (and therefore also Romulans) might even be descendants of their early travelers. (: "")
With the discovery of ancient humanoid progenitors in the 24th century, most humanoid life forms in the known galaxy were found to have a "seed" genetic code guiding their evolution to the humanoid form. (: "")
When Surak's reforms of embracing logical principles and rejecting emotions spread rapidly across Vulcan in the 4th century, a minority rejected Surak's ideals. They departed Vulcan in the 4th century; later, some of their descendants established settlements on the planets Calder II, Dessica II, Draken IV, Yadalla Prime and Barradas III. An ancient offshoot civilization, called the Debrune, at one time existed on Barradas III but it had died out by the 24th century. (: "")
At some point, another group settled on twin planets that became known as Romulus and Remus. While Romulus was a Class M planet, Remus was a harsh planet notable only for its dilithium deposits. These two worlds were the foundation of an interstellar empire that expanded to many worlds, reaching across some of the Beta Quadrant. Eventually that power came to be known as the Romulan Star Empire. (: "", ""; Star Trek Nemesis)
In 2387, a star close to Romulus went supernova. Although Ambassador Spock attempted to prevent the supernova from striking the planet, he was ultimately unsuccessful and Romulus was destroyed. (Star Trek)
Romulans were aware of Humanity for some time before Earth knew of them. Infiltrating the highest levels of the Vulcan High Command, the Romulans were impressed and confused by Humans. The Enterprise NX-01 inadvertently encountered a Romulan minefield at one point, drawing even more Romulan attention. Even after fighting the Earth-Romulan War, it wasn't until the 23rd century that Humans saw them. (: ""; : "")
After the Treaty of Algeron went into effect, the Romulans retreated into political and social isolation from the Federation. In late 2364 an unprovoked attack on a Romulan outpost near the Federation Neutral zone occurred. The Romulans initially suspected the Federation had executed the attack but it was later learned that the Borg were responsible. This event marked the end of Romulan political isolationism with the Federation. (: "")
In keeping with their xenophobic and arguably racist attitudes, the Romulans tend to conquer species rather than form alliances with them, and individual Romulans tend to treat other species with varying degrees of disdain.
That did not prevent them from employing diplomacy when it suited their purposes. Soon after their emergence from a century of isolation in the mid 2260s, they had established at least two embassies with the Federation. One such embassy was a three-way endeavor on the planet Nimbus III, along with the Klingon Empire, and the other was on Earth itself. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Klingons and Romulans once shared an alliance for a number of years, beginning in the 2260s. Over the years, a number of incidents, including the Khitomer Massacre, led the Klingons to develop a deep seated hatred for the Romulans, and the Romulans were arguably the species that Klingon society in general despises most of all. (: ""; : "")
A Cardassian embassy existed on Romulus for a time, and Elim Garak was "employed" there as a "gardener," suggesting that the two species maintained an active diplomatic relationship. (: "") In 2371 Romulan and Cardassian agents in the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order cooperated in an attempted attack on the Dominion. (: "", "") The Romulans had certainly cut ties with the Cardassians by the time they entered in to the Dominion War, but when their relationship ended prior to this was unclear.
One common saying among the Romulans was "Never turn your back on a Breen." While this statement could be taken as partially humorous and not in itself indicative of hostilities between the two species, the Breen Thot's apparent condition that the Breen be given Romulus in exchange for their help in the Dominion War suggested there was some degree of unfriendly history between the two. (: "", "")
The species that Romulans seem to dislike most, however, were Vulcans, and this feud goes back many centuries. The two powers once fought in a war that lasted 100 years, that was ignited due to a misunderstanding created by one of Q's self-destructive stunts. (: "")
The two species would remain distrustful of one another for an incredibly long time, but some Romulans grew tired of this, and a grassroots movement for reunification of the two species was active for a time on Romulus. It was generally assumed that after the split, Romulans and Vulcans were unaware of their common ancestry until the 23rd century. (: ""; : "")
In Romulan society, military/political rank influences social standing. Because Romulans were members of a militant civilization, who considered defending the Romulan Empire and their own personal honor of foremost importance, military service and its accompanying rank were decisive factors in determining social eminence. (: "") However, while the military played an important role in Romulan society, it was the Romulan Senate that controls the government. (Star Trek Nemesis)
At one point in history, Romulus was a sovereign nation ruled by an Empress, as indicated by Q. (: "") By the 23rd century the highest position of power was held by the Praetor, who presided over the Romulan Senate. (: ""; Star Trek Nemesis) The Praetor headed the Continuing Committee, which was comprised of the Empire's most elite individuals, which make decisions of the utmost importance. (: "")
By the 24th century, the government of Romulus was dependent upon the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police, to maintain order and stability among both civilians and the military. The Tal Shiar was known for its brutal tactics, which included routine kidnapping, torture, and assassination. Many Romulans fear even expressing dissenting opinions as not to spark the interest of the Tal Shiar. There was also indications that tension existed between the military and the Tal Shiar. (: "")
Romulan society was based upon a highly structured caste system. Unlike most of the highly evolved species in the Alpha and Beta quadrants, Romulans still practiced slavery, specifically the Remans, which they used for slave labor and as shock troops. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Romulans tended to be highly xenophobic, engaging in extended periods of isolationism, and could be perceived as outright racist to other species, believing themselves to be superior. At least some Romulans believe that one day the Romulan Empire will rule the entire galaxy. (: "", "", "") According to Miles O'Brien, there was no piece of technology in existence that the Romulans didn't claim they invented before everyone else. (: "")
Romulan society did not appear to be gender biased. Both males and females commanded warships, could obtain high political positions and could be members of the Tal Shiar. (: ""; : ""; : ""; : "")
- See also: Romulan language
- "Paranoia is a way of life for you, isn't it?"
- - The Doctor to Rekar (: "")
The Romulans lack the rigorous mental disciplines developed by the followers of Surak. Like the Vulcans, the Romulans have given up unrestrained violence as a way of life. However, in the case of the Romulans this has been replaced with a controlled deviousness: As a species the Romulans were generally thought of as duplicitous, a reputation the actions of their government over the last decade has reinforced. (: "")
During the 23rd century, Romulans practiced the execution of state criminals, by means both painful and unpleasant. Prior to the presenting of the charges, the Romulans allow the accused a Right of Statement. (: "")
Reluctance to rely on overt hostility generally lead the Romulans to play a waiting game with their opponents, attempting to manipulate an adversary into breaking – or appearing to break – an agreement so as to give them a solid justification for striking. (: "", "")
They were also well known for fearing disgrace over death. (: "") With this frame of mind, Romulan parents dispose of any newborn carrying birth defects as the alternative would mean a waste of resources. (: "")
The totalitarian nature of Romulan society, in which dissent was often a crime and Romulan security officers masquerade as citizens, had led many Romulans to be extremely paranoid. (: "")
A common Romulan courtesy was the saying "Jolan Tru", although what exactly this means is unclear, as it is used both in context of greeting and goodbye. (: ""; : "", "")
In the 24th century, a dissident movement began to gain momentum, based on the desire to learn about Vulcan and Vulcan ideals. Their ultimate goal was the reunification of Romulus and Vulcan. Ambassador Spock was deeply involved in this movement. (: "", "")While many arguably belligerent and militaristic species, such as Nausicaans, Breen, and even Klingons often sell their fighting skills to the highest bidder, Romulans were rarely, if ever, seen involved in such activities. This was possibly due to the apparent superiority complex of most Romulans, many of whom would likely find such work beneath them, and would prefer to serve the Romulan Empire in some capacity. However, Miles O'Brien once played a game of Tongo with a Romulan mercenary. (: "") In cases of anonymity, they were known for commonly using hired assassins, such as the Flaxians, to conduct their off-world "justice." (: "")
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